As Rex E. Lee officially became the 10th president of Brigham Young University during Friday's inauguration ceremonies, he brought his own personal style and expertise to add to the legacy of the nine presidents before him.
Lee comes to the university with many achievements in the legal world - most notable is his role as U.S. solicitor general from 1981 to 1985. Last April he joined the ranks of only a few attorneys when he argued his 50th case before the U.S. Supreme Court.He served as assistant U.S. attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's Civil Division from 1975 to 1976. He was founding dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU and has been the George Sutherland Professor of Law at the school since 1985.
And the list goes on.
It's apparent Lee brings a great deal of experience with him to the university, but his position as president of the largest private church-related university in the nation (sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) carries with it a legacy left him by the university's past nine presidents.
"Though each has stated it in different ways, every president from Warren Dusenberry to the present has affirmed, as I now reaffirm, that what sets our university apart is that we are concerned here not just with the mind, but also the complete soul of which the mind is one integral part," Lee said in his inauguration address. "From this objective we have never wavered and we never will."
As the first principal of Brigham Young Academy, Warren N. Dusenberry brought with him enthusiasm and civic interest to convince Utah County residents that education was important for their children. He served until 1876 when he resigned to practice law.
Karl G. Maeser, the second principal, carried the school through periods of financial distress. It wasn't uncommon for the faculty to accept food
from students' gardens instead of a salary.
Despite money woes, Maeser's administration was known for its masterful teaching. Maeser instilled three ideals - the pursuit of knowledge, development of character and reverence for the revealed word of God.
During his tenure, from 1876 to 1892, the school moved into the new Academy Building, now known as Academy Square.
The administration of Benjamin Cluff Jr. was responsible for changing the school from a small college department to a university. He saw construction of the College Building, founded the Alumni Association, started two school papers, encouraged athletic activity and created the first summer school in the state. He was president from 1892 to 1903.
George H. Brimhall, one of the academy's first graduates, was president from 1904 to 1921. He emphasized that the first purpose of the university was to develop better Latter-day Saints.
During his tenure the university purchased 17 acres, known as Temple Hill, from Provo City. That was the beginning of the upper campus. The block Y also became a permanent fixture on the mountainside east of campus.
The fifth president, Franklin S. Harris, served the longest term of any president from 1921 to 1945. His administration is best known for its academic growth. Five colleges were organized, the Graduate School was established and a Graduate School dean was appointed. The Religion Division was also organized. Building construction was extensive as well.
During the Howard S. McDonald years, from 1945 to 1949, the university grew to meet the educational needs of veterans returning from World War II. Several temporary buildings were built to house the students and necessary programs. The Graduate School was also reorganized under his administration.
The most extensive growth in BYU's history came under the leadership of Ernest L. Wilkinson, also a lawyer. He served as president from 1951 to 1971, a period when enrollment went from 5,000 to 25,000. More than 100 buildings were constructed during his presidency and a Brigham Young University LDS Stake was also organized. There are now 17 stakes on campus.
BYU's eighth president, Dallin H. Oaks, served from 1971 to 1980. The third president to have a legal career, he built an administration that was decentralized and delegated authority. The law school was established during his tenure, as was the year-round academic calendar and the general education program among others.
Jeffrey R. Holland, president from 1980 to 1989, had two major goals as president _ to increase the school's academic accomplishments and to strengthen and emphasize its unique religious nature.
The BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies was completed during his administration as was the largest fund-raising campaign ever at BYU (raising $116 million). Numerous buildings were also constructed and renovated during his administration.
Lee became president in July after Holland was called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS Church last April.
"The historic hallmark of this university over the 114 years of its existence has been a remarkable combination of constancy and change," Lee said. "It is a combination which must continue as we prepare to enter the 21st century."